YouTube channel 618 Fishing showcases ‘micro-fishing’ phenomenon – Topeka Capital Journal

When searching for fishing footage online, you’re likely to see one of the following adjectives in the title: Giant, huge, enormous, monster.

It’s human nature, really — people enjoy seeing a big fish.

One YouTuber, however, diverts from conventional wisdom to show a much different angle of angling — one that is every bit as successful as its prize-fishing counterparts.

Nick Calcara, of Edwardsville, Ill., has carved out his own “little” niche in the ever-expanding world of YouTube fishing channels. He frequently posts videos of him fishing in small, urban creeks and even puddles — areas where you’re not likely to catch the next world-record bass — on his YouTube channel, 618 Fishing. This form of “microfishing” typically has him using an ultra-light reel with small hooks, bobbers and chopped-up bits of hot dogs. With this small setup, he pulls out fish that aren’t much bigger than the typical baitfish sold in styrofoam buckets at tackle shops.

The kicker: He gets just as excited by that tiny bass fingerling as he would be for a lunker.

“Going back to when I was younger, I had a lot of fun catching small reptiles and small fish with this little net I had,” Calcara said. “As I got older and that net changed to a fishing pole, I definitely wanted to catch that ‘big one.’ Recently though, it has come full circle, and although I don’t use a net I find there’s a lot of enjoyment in adventuring to cool places with a fishing pole and seeing if fish actually live there, big or small.”

That love of the sport dates back to his younger days, well before he became a hit on YouTube.

“Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve always loved being outdoors and playing in creeks,” Calcara said. “I remember seeing tiny fish in those creeks and I’ve always thought it was really cool how fish can live in those tiny bodies of water. It took me until my mid-20s to actually try and catch those fish on rod and line, but hey, better late than never.”

That passion, as well as the unique draw of his channel, helped to grow a following on the website. Calcara posted his first video to 618 Fishing exactly two years ago this May. Since that first video, which he filmed on his cellphone, his channel has eclipsed 14.5 million views and has gained about 69,000 subscribers. He said he started out posting a couple times a month and now tries to post a video once a week.

“It’s the internet, and there’s always going to be someone with something negative to say, but the overwhelming majority of people have been very positive,” Calcara said. “It always makes me feel good when I see comments from people who were inspired by my videos to go out and fish. I’ve also gotten comments from parents who, after watching the videos, say they’re going to take their kids out to a small creek and introduce them to fishing, and I think that is really cool!”

His most popular video, titled “Tiny Creek Fishing,” has more than 2.5 million views. Another video that eclipsed the million-view mark, “Almost Shot While Fishing,” shows him nearly getting shot by a neighbor as he fished his own pond.

“Yeah, I don’t think I’ve ever moved so fast in my life,” Calcara laughed as he described the story behind the video. “I’ll start off by saying as a firearm owner myself I have no problem with firearms, but it is very important to have a proper backstop and to be aware of what lies beyond your target when shooting.

“Our neighbors had been out shooting for a while on this particularly warm December day. I decided I was going to do some fishing in our pond, as well as try out a new camera I had just bought. Everything was going great until I heard a bullet hitting branches and whizzing by me into the pond 25 feet from where I was standing. Our neighbors were very apologetic and there haven’t been any further incidents.”

His channel isn’t only micro-fishing videos, however. He also posts videos of him seeking out bigger fish, including lunker bass, giant catfish and even some ocean fish. He has traveled to different states for some of his fishing videos, including a recent trip to Colorado where he caught some trout while fishing in a small, urban river.

“Colorado was great,” Calcara said. “That was my first time there and I was blown away by its beauty. I’ve also traveled to Florida quite a bit to fish for various saltwater species from the surf and rock jetties. I actually just caught the biggest fish of my life (a blacktip shark) down in Florida while at the beach this past September.”

He said he didn’t have any more out-of-state fishing trips set in stone yet, but fishing for alligator gar in Texas and sturgeon in Oregon were “definitely high on my list.”

Calcara also had some advice for those who haven’t been fishing before but have thought about going.

“Get out and give it a try,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if you go to a river, lake, pond, creek or puddle, you never know where you might find fish. If you have children or grandchildren, take ‘em out to a pond or creek and try to catch small fish with bait and bobbers. I’m sure they’ll have a blast! Don’t be discouraged if you don’t catch anything on your first time out. If fishing has taught me anything, it’s patience.”

To check out 618 Fishing on YouTube, go to http:// tinyurl.com/k7n8x6f/.